One requirement of being a corporate photographer is travel. Fortunately most of my travel is fairly local, or at least what I consider local, Philadelphia to Washington DC and on occasion, New York. I tend to be in DC a couple times a month, sometimes a couple times a week. Most of my trips are by train so I try to travel light, and by light I mean two Nikon bodies, four lenses, three speed lights, Pocket Wizards and batteries, so not really light. I needed to find an easier way to carry my gear. A traditional bag was out of the question since the last thing I want is to show up at a shoot exhausted from schlepping thirty or forty pounds of equipment. A backpack would be nice but for the amount of gear I carry, I would need a bag the size of small refrigerator. What I found is made by Think Tank Photo, specifically their Airport Security Rolling Backpack. It’s a solid, secure bag that’s easy to configure and carries practically everything I need for an assignment.
For a recent shoot at JFK airport, I carried my 400 2.8, a 70-200, three super wide lenses and two Nikon Bodies, plus I still had room for two speedlights. I can’t say enough about this bag; it’s designed to fit in the tightest of overhead airline storage units and with the sturdy rollers and retractable handle is a shoulder and back saver. It also has hidden shoulder straps just in case you need to convert it to a traditional backpack. The coolest feature is the built-in security system. TSA combination locks secure the main compartment zipper closed. Plus it has a front and rear security cable & combination lock that allows you to lock it to immovable objects.
The front lock will secure a laptop case to the front of your roller. This lock is very effective when a laptop case is stored in the front stretch pocket. Would I lock this bag to one of the chairs at Union Station in Washington DC while I grab a coffee? Not a chance, but I have locked it up to some crazy things in hotel rooms when I needed to leave my room to grab a bite. While it’s not a rolling safe and shouldn’t be used as one, it does give you piece-of-mind that your bag won’t roll away if you’re temporarily distracted or if you decided to grab some shut-eye while waiting for a flight or train. With over thirty train trips and dozens of cab rides under its wheels with more to come, this bag is showing no signs of wear.
In addition to the rolling backpack, Think Tank Photo makes a great line of bags, belts and photo pouches.